ANSC Graduate Student Jarvis Scott Presents Research with Potential Methane Reduction for the Dairy Industry

Research suggests dietary feed additive could further reduce emissions in dairy industry

Jarvis Scott next to his research poster at the American Dairy Science Association’s annual meeting.

June 29, 2022 Jonathan Stephanoff

ANSC Ph.D. candidate Jarvis Scott traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, in June to present a research poster and attend the American Dairy Science Association’s (ADSA) annual meeting from June 19-22. Scott’s research focus in Dr. Kohn’s lab is ruminant nutrition and he presented ongoing research into changes that occur in volatile fatty acid and fermentation gas profile under different dietary conditions.

Jarvis Scott’s research poster was titled, “In vitro effects of sodium acetate and sodium propionate on the fermentation profile of dairy cows fed different forage-to-concentrate ratios.” Scott described the experiment he ran, saying, “Cannulated cows were fed either a high forage or high concentrate/grain diet for 21 days and rumen fluid from each cow was incubated with increasing levels of sodium acetate or sodium propionate to test the overall effect on fermentation profile.”

Scott’s findings point to new dietary methods that could reduce methane emission in dairy cows. He explained, “it appears that sodium acetate addition [as a feed additive] may be effective at shifting fermentation away from acetogenesis–a pathway providing reactants for methane production, and towards propionate–a pathway that uses reactants otherwise used for methanogenesis to make more energy rich fatty acids.”

An ARPAS-ANSC travel grant and support from Dr. Kohn helped Scott attend the ADSA annual meeting. Scott said, “this was the first time the association was able to host an in-person conference since 2019 so it was amazing to see colleagues, as this conference is the only time we get to network with the largest collection of Dairy scientists.”

Scott highlighted rising interest in dietary and herd management approaches to greenhouse gas emissions reduction in the dairy industry, which is at the center of his dissertation. He said, “I was quite pleased at the abundance of research posters and oral presentations focusing on the topic–previous conference agendas only featured a few talks focused on methane emission and GHG mitigation.”